Are you wasting money every time you do the laundry? Is there a cheaper way to fill your fridge? What tiny step can you take to save a bundle in your home office?
MoneySmart has compiled a list of easy, practical tips that will help you save money in every room of your home .
In the living room
1. Buy your own cable modem. Instead of paying about $72 a year to lease one from the cable company, consider paying a one time fee (about $90 new, $20 refurbished) and own it outright. Just contact the cable company for a list of approved modems to make sure you buy one that’s compatible.
2. Cut the cable cord. Instead of paying for cable television (which historically doubles in price every 10 years or so), invest in a digital antenna to get HDTV cable channels for free. For help from the Consumer Electronics Association to choose the antenna that’s right for you, visit www.antennaweb.org.
3. Make furnishings last longer by flipping cushions and rotating rugs. This will prevent patterns of wear from showing and give your couches, chairs and rugs more life.
4. Get a programmable thermostat to that automatically drops the temperature by as much as 10 degrees while you’re at work or sleeping.
5. One caveat: in below-zero weather, don’t bother setting the thermostat back, since the furnace will have to work too hard (and use too much energy) to get the house back to the desired temperature. Also, don’t keep rooms lower than 50 degrees while on vacation – your pipes could freeze.
In the home gym
6. Get free workouts online. Subscribe to the “Tone It Up!” channel on YouTube for great, fun videos from Bravo TV’s Katrina Hodgson and Karena Dawn. The Nike Training Club app for iPhone and Android also gets high marks, with more than 100 full-body workouts and easy ways to track your progress.
7. Buy second-hand gym equipment. Lots of people buy workout equipment on a whim (or a short-lived New Year’s resolution) and never use it. Many of them will sell it cheap, since it’s so heavy to move and they just want it gone. Check the want ads.
In the kitchen
8. Don’t pre-rinse dishes. Today’s dishwashers and detergents are formulated to do the job without a pre-rinse.
9. Use vinegar as a rinse aid in dishwasher instead of a commercial product. Vinegar costs 2 cents per ounce, compared to Jet Dry’s 47 cents per ounce.
10. Buy store brands. Whether it’s cereal, toilet paper or cleaning supplies, private label “generics” have come a long way in quality. Many are even manufactured by the same companies that make your favorite national name brands, but don’t have national advertising expenses to pass on to the customer.
11. Keep your lettuce and greens fresh longer by storing them in a zipper bag with a moist paper towel.
12. Cherry pick a grocer’s best deals. Many stores offer loss leaders at a great price to get you into the store, hoping you’ll complete all of your shopping there. But nothing prevents you from taking advantage of sale items only and completing the rest of your shopping where you find prices and quality to be the best value.
13. Stockpile. When shelf-stable items you use often go on sale for an unbeatable price, stock up!
In the laundry room
14. Be sure to measure out your laundry detergent according to the directions on the bottle. Don’t just fill the detergent cap to the top – look for the faint line inside indicating how much to use.
14. Consider homemade laundry soap. Using the easy directions listed on our MoneySmart blog at BuffaloNews.com, you can make 10 gallons of your own laundry detergent for just 12 cents per gallon!
15. Use white vinegar instead of fabric softener. Just add a quarter cup during the rinse cycle to soften clothes and prevent static cling. If you normally use Downy, you’ll save a whopping $9 per gallon by switching to vinegar.
16. Wash full loads – but not too full. It’s inefficient to wash small loads when you could be using the same amount of energy to wash more clothes at once. But if you pack the washer with too many clothes, it won’t be able to agitate enough to get everything clean.
In the bathroom
18. Make your disposable razor last for months. Dry the razor after each shave and store it in a cup of rubbing alcohol. Keep it sharp longer by “stropping” it after each use – running the blade against the grain (the opposite way you would to shave) along a pair of jeans about 20 times.
19. Stop drips. Leaky faucets don’t just drive up your water bill, they can drive up your gas bill, causing your hot water tank to kick on every time a certain amount of water is drained.
20. You don’t need a huge glob of toothpaste. A half-inch strip will work just fine.
In the home office
21. Connect all of your electronics into a power strip so you can turn them all off at once. Leaving them running when not in use drains electricity.
22. Have your computer printer’s ink cartridges refilled instead of buying new ones. You can save up to 50 percent.
23. Don’t use screensavers, which drain energy when your monitor is not in use. Instead, let your computer go into sleep mode during spans of inactivity.
In the closet
24. Don’t buy clothing that must be dry cleaned. It’s an expensive way to care for clothes and an expense that can be cut out of your budget completely.
25. Wear clothing multiple times instead of washing after each use.
26. Shop for summer clothes each year in August and September, buy winter clothes in January and February. They’ll be deeply discounted.
27. Look for clothes at thrift and consignment shops, or have a clothing swap with friends.
In the bedroom
28. Haggle when shopping for a mattress. Like car dealers, mattress retailers expect to negotiate down from the sticker price.
29. Buy bedding and linens during January “white sales” for the best prices.
30. Don’t buy a TV for the bedroom. You’ll sleep better and longer if you don’t watch TV before turning in, according to studies by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.